A police officer watches pro-life and pro-choice supporters demonstrating in Washington
A police officer watches pro-life and pro-choice supporters demonstrating in Washington Reuters

Religious leaders in New York City are calling for a decrease in the number of aborted pregnancies following revelations from the city’s health department agency that (excluding miscarriages) about two out of every five (41 percent) pregnancies in New York are aborted – more than double the national rate (19 percent).

This news comes as an increasing number of state legislatures are seeking measures to restrict abortions.

We got to do more than shiver over these chilling statistics, said archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan at a press conference Thursday. I invite all to come together to make abortion rare. For the first time in my happy 21 months as a New Yorker, I am embarrassed to be a member of a cherished community I now -- usually with a lot of pride -- call home.”

According to city data, in 2009 New York City women gave birth to 126,774 babies, suffered 11,620 miscarriages and had 87,273 abortions. (Interestingly, despite the state’s liberal abortion laws, only about 7,000 terminations were done on out-of-state residents).

“If you look at the pregnancy rates by race and ethnicity in New York City versus nationally, they are essentially the same for black and Hispanic teenagers, and lower for whites,” said Susan Craig, a spokeswoman for the city’s health department.

Indeed, according to the statistics, non-Hispanic Blacks had a 59.8 percent abortion rate; Hispanics (41.3 percent rate); Asians (22.7 percent); and non-Hispanic Whites (20.4 percent)
Unmarried women accounted for a whopping 84 percent of abortions in 2009.

“Listening to Archbishop Dolan, I took a little bit of comfort in that he recognizes it is important to bring this rate down,” said Joan Malin, president of Planned Parenthood of New York City told the New York Times. “The way we think about these issues is to really step back a bit and say that the major concern or the underlying issue that we think is so important is the high rate of unintended pregnancies.”

While the numbers may seem high, there were actually more abortions in New York City in the year 2000 (94,466 abortions and an abortion rate of 46 percent).

A perhaps unexpected component of the data is that fewer teenagers are having babies (and fewer abortions as well). Since 1996, babies born to teen mothers has dropped by 39 percent, while the number of abortions by teens has tumbled by 16 percent (all while the population of teens have moderately increased).

My word, what have we done the last 30 years. There's candy bowls on people's desks with condoms, they're dropping them from airplanes, yet nothing seems to improve, so they've been on the wrong track here, Archbishop Dolan added.

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